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Elegant Terms at San Diego

Clinton G. Abbott
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
29
Issue: 
3 (May-June)
Section: 
From Field and Study
Year: 
1927
Pages: 
171

Elegant Terms at San Diego

As the Elegant Tern (Sterna elegant), which nests below the Mexican line, has been regarded as a rather rare visitant to the coast of southern California, it may be of interest to note that this species occurred in considerable numbers off San Diego County during last fall. Birds which were unquestionably Elegant Terns arrived in the beginning of August at La Jolla, and could be seen there by the score, flying over the water or fishing. On August 16, I swam out a short distance from the bathing beach in “The Cove” at La Jolla, and some of the Elegant Terns flew over my head, offering a fairly close view. They uttered a rather loud cadent trill, suggesting more the tee ar-r-r-r of the Common Tern than the squawking cry of the Royal Tern. Later, J. W. Sefton, Jr., President of the San Diego Society of Natural History, collected several specimens of these exceptionally beautiful birds for the Society. All were taken from a motor boat, off Point Loma, as follows: September 6, three; September 12, four; September 19, one. The sexes were about equally divided.

Clinton G. Abbott

Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, Sun Diego, California, December 20, 1926

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